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Life Sciences 4.0, revolutionising manufacturing through connected systems & data

Posted on January 6, 2020 by David Staunton, Global Services Director & Ryan McInerney, Technical Consultant

Part 1: An Introduction

The Life Sciences industry has a strong legacy in data collection and has been embracing ‘Industry 4.0’ (which we will refer to as Life Sciences 4.0 in this blog series) methodology before the term existed. It has been collecting data in large historian systems for over 40 years. Right now, almost every device in a GMP manufacturing facility collects data and the industry continues to complete projects to physically connect all these devices and systems.

Data collection and visualisation to improve the performance of the manufacturing supply chain has been a goal for the Life Sciences industry for a very long time. However, in GMP manufacturing, it is not about being new – it is about using proven solutions and approaches to create never before seen (or possible) quality and reliability standards.

In this blog series, Industry 4.0 or ‘Life Sciences 4.0’ has been fully defined, the industry’s appetite for change established and the technologies and approaches that will facilitate such change evaluated. The role of data throughout all this has been analysed and its importance discussed. For the Life Sciences industries, Life Sciences 4.0 is a radical change that will not be driven by radical investment but by ‘making the most of now’ and data utilisation.

Defining Life Sciences 4.0

Life Sciences 4.0 refers to the new tools and processes that are enabling smart, de-centralised production, with intelligent factories, integrated IT systems, the Internet of Things (IoT) and flexible, highly integrated and automated manufacturing systems. It is the latest wave of technological advances that will drive the next phase of pharmaceutical manufacturing by using proven solutions and approaches to decision making to improve quality, reliability and reduce waste.

Digital Manufacturing – Life Sciences 4.0, enables companies to harness information and analytics across the manufacturing value chain. By integrating Information Technology (IT) with Operations Technology (OT) and combining this with the digital power of Industry of Things (IoT), systems and processes can be connected like never before and key insight ascertained. Through Digital Manufacturing, data can be shared and synchronised seamlessly across all layers of manufacturing, to enhance intelligent decision making and close the loop on business operations.

The Market

There is growing interest among the leaders and decision makers in the pharma industry around Life Sciences 4.0. What must be discussed and appreciated by those who influence progression in the life science sector is the scope of Life Sciences 4.0 – it will someday change everything. When talking about Life Sciences 4.0, it’s important to move away from discussions about semantic alternatives or incremental changes. Instead, the industry must appreciate that it is about overhauling the way the industry thinks and creating processes, practices and services that are completely new. Pharmaceutical manufacturers face an ever-present need to remain competitive in a marketplace where product portfolios are diversifying, innovative start-ups challenging the status-quo, supply chain partners becoming more integrated and patients more involved in decisions around their care.

Realising the promises of Life Sciences 4.0 will be the market differentiator for businesses competing in this environment. For more information on this topic download our Industry 4.0 Whitepaper.

Stay tuned for the next blog in our ‘Connected Systems and Data Series’ where we dive into the drivers for change in the industry, pulling on insights of a recent Life Sciences Industry Survey.

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